2019 Ag Day Essay Contest

Written by NAMA on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 , 8:15 am

Official Topic: “Agriculture: Food for Life. How Does Our Nation Lead the Way?”

2019 Ag Day Essay Contest Rules & Guidelines

Sponsored by: CHS Inc., Farm Progress & the National Association of Farm Broadcasting 

Students across the country are invited to enter the National Ag Day essay and video contest, sponsored by the Agriculture Council of America. This year’s theme is “Agriculture: Food for Life. How Does Our Nation Lead the Way?” The ACA encourages students to describe how agriculture impacts their daily life and how it will feed the world with the growing population. 

We encourage all entrants to support their position with facts. As you prepare your entry, consider how you might draw on, or examine, some of the following trends: 

  • Global population is projected to reach 9 billion people by 2050
  • Increasing global consumer interest in how food is produced and processed
  • Popularity and growth of high protein diets featuring plant-based protein
  • Health and fitness driving consumer food buying habits
  • Influence of technology and biotechnology on food production, such as precision agriculture, drones and GMOs (genetically-modified organisms)
  • There’s a shortfall of students entering agriculture, versus the number of job openings. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that more than 20,000 agriculture jobs are left unfilled annually. 
  • Each American farmer feeds more than 165 people; a dramatic increase from 25 people in the 1960s.
  • Average age of today’s farmer is 58 years old, who will take over? 

U.S. farmers are among the most productive in the world. They proudly raise crops and livestock because they want to help feed hungry people. You can show your support for them, and all of agriculture, by submitting your entry by January 31, 2019. See below for all the rules.

We’d also invite you to visit www.agday.org, the National Ag Day website, for additional information about how you might participate in local Ag Day events. 

Section I – General Rules

  1. The 2019 Ag Day Essay Contest is divided into two categories of competition: written essay and video essay. Both are national competitions.
  2. Contestants must compose an original written essay and/or video essay with limited guidance from adults, teachers or agricultural industry professionals. Interviews with industry professionals are acceptable research; input beyond research is unacceptable.
  3. Agriculture Council of America (ACA) will have the right to publish or otherwise duplicate any essay entered in the contest, along with the author’s name, without payment to the author.
  4. All entries must be received at the Agriculture Council of America office by midnight CST, January 31, 2019.

Section II – Qualifications for Contestants

The contest is open to students in grades 9 through 12 in the 2018-2019 school year. Contestants must be a U.S. citizen and attending school in the U.S. Contestants must meet all requirements to compete. 

Contestants are eligible for only one written essay entry during any given year.

Contestants are eligible for only one video essay entry during any given year.

Section III – Written Essay Contest Rules

  1. Each entry must begin with a title page containing: official topic, “Agriculture: Food for Life. How Does Our Nation Lead the Way?”, number of words, writer’s name, address, phone number, date of birth, school name and grade.
  2. Essays may be handwritten or typed, double-spaced. 
  3. Essays must contain 450 words or less. This does not include the bibliography, footnotes identifying non-original material or title and author information.
  4. Each page of the essay must be numbered, starting with the first page of the essay, not the title page. The numbers must be centered at the bottom of each page.
  5. Any quotation or copyrighted materials used in the essay must be properly identified using a bibliography and footnotes or proper citation. Failure to identify non-original material will result in disqualification. 
  6. No reference can be made in the essay that will identify the contestant beyond the listing of the name on the title page. The author is allowed to reference a state’s name within the essay. 
  7. Essay must be written in English.
  8. The entry must be stapled together in the upper left-hand corner with the title page on top. Covers of any type are not accepted beyond the title page information described in Section III, No. 1 above.
  9. All essays must be accompanied by an entry form. If emailed, it must be in Word or PDF format. Please send by either mail or email – not both. Entry forms are available to download here. Entry forms and essays must be received by midnight CST, January 31, 2019, and sent to: 

2019 Ag Day Essay Contest

Agriculture Council of America

11020 King St., Ste. 205

Overland Park, KS 66210


The ACA cannot confirm receipt of entries.

  1. Any protest must be made immediately. The Essay Contest Chair will decide all protests in conformity with the contest rules. 
  2. The decision of the contest Chair is final and no higher appeals will be recognized. Failure to adhere to the rules may result in disqualification at the discretion of the Sponsor.

Section IV – Video Essay Contest Rules

  1. Video must address the official topic “Agriculture: Food for Life. How Does Our Nation Lead the Way?”
  2. The file format of all uploaded videos must be .MP4. The maximum length of the video is TWO (2) minutes.
  3. Each entry must be in English.
  4. To submit the video essay, visit http://agday.leapfile.net follow the directions as guided on the page, OR the video may be burned to a DVD or CD and mailed to: 2019 Ag Day Essay Contest, Agriculture Council of America, 11020 King St., Ste. 205, Overland Park, KS 66210
  5. All video essays must be accompanied by an entry form. If video is uploaded at http://agday.leapfile.net, please submit an accompanying entry form to http://agday.leapfile.net in Word or PDF format. If the video is burned to a DVD or CD and mailed to the address above, please include an accompanying entry form within the package. Please submit entry via mail or upload site – not both. Entry forms are available to download here. Entries must be received at the address listed above no later than midnight CST, January 31,  2019.
  6. Entries must not, in the sole and unfettered judgment of the Chair, contain any sexually explicit, disparaging, libelous or other inappropriate content, language or nudity. 
  7. Entries must not contain any act that is considered dangerous, in the sole and unfettered judgment of the Chair. 
  8. Entries must not violate any copyrights or trademarks, including music used in the video. Applicant must have consent and credit the music or it must be the applicant’s original music.
  9. Failure to adhere to the rules may result in disqualification at the discretion of the Chair.

Section V – Judging and Timing

  1. Judging will be completed by a panel of qualified judges made up of representatives from the sponsoring organizations and experts from the ag industry.
  2. Number will be placed on the title page and first page of the essay before the title page is removed.
  3. Judges will not discuss or compare essays being judged.
  4. Only judges can assign a penalty or award a point.

Section VI – Scoring of Written Essay Contest

  1. Material Organization (logical interpretation of the subject, adherence to topic): 40 points
  2. Vocabulary and Style (phrasing and continuity): 25 points
  3. Grammar, Punctuation, Spelling: 25 points
  4. Neatness: 10 points

Section VII – Scoring of the Video Essay Contest

  1. Logical Interpretation of Subject, Adherence to Topic: 25 points
  2. Originality: 25 points
  3. Innovation and Creativity: 25 points
  4. Visual Esthetics: 25 points

Section VIII – Penalties for the Written Essay Contest

Required 5-point deduction:

  1. Failure to identify total number of words
  2. Failure to stay within the 450-or-less word limit
  3. Failure to double space

Section IX – Penalties for the Video Essay Contest

10% reduction for each penalty:

  1. Failure to stay within time constraint
  2. Failure to submit via proper file format (.MP4)

Section X – Awards

  1. National Video Essay Winner – $1,000
  2. National Written Essay Winner – $1,000 and trip to Washington, D.C., to be recognized at the National Press Club Event on March 14, 2019.

First-place winner of the written essay and first-place winner of the video essay will be contacted in February via phone. Both winners will be announced to the public and media following the National Press Club Event on March 14, 2019. Non-winning entries will not be notified. To check if an entry won, check the website agday.org. For more information, contact jennyp@nama.org, RE: 2019 Ag Day Essay Contest.

Click here to view the winning entries from 2018.

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